The K 2019 trade fair for plastics and rubber will take place from 16 – 23 October 2019 in Düsseldorf, Germany, where the VDMA Plastics and Rubber Machinery Association will be focusing on the recycling sector. A series of interviews will shed light on why it is doing this and the significance of the "Circular Economy" for member companies of the association. In the first contribution, Ulrich Reifenhäuser, Chairman of the Board of Management of the trade association, gives his views on the subject. The amount of plastic waste is growing steadily worldwide. In order to use resources sustainably, waste has to be given a value, it ought to be recycled and not disposed of, as is still the case in many countries around the world. Ulrich Reifenhäuser is convinced that there is a need for a comprehensive change of awareness in society. The end consumers need to be educated and informed. At the same time, an appropriate political framework has to be provided. Mechanical engineering supports resource-efficient production and recycling technologies, but brand owners also play a key role in promoting the acceptance of products made from recycled materials.